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  • Oklahoma Adds Wellness Services to Physical Therapy Practice Act

    Patients and consumers in Oklahoma have expanded options in fitness and wellness services, thanks to a new law that adds these services to the state's physical therapy practice act. Signed by Gov Mary Fallin on Monday, SB 1592 was sponsored by Sen Clark Jolley and Rep Gary Banz. Rep Sean Roberts, PT, MPT, was instrumental in the bill's success, which also was supported by the Patients First Coalition, a group of representatives from the 2 physician associations in the state.

    Call for Submissions: Competency-based Learning and Assessment Resources

    The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), as a partner in the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), is seeking submissions for competency-based learning and assessment resources in support of IPEC's Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice report. Physical therapists involved in interprofessional education and practice are encouraged to submit a resource development award application.

    Funded in part by the Josiah Macy Jr Foundation, this initiative is designed to create a national clearinghouse of competency-linked learning resources for interprofessional education and models of team-based or collaborative care.

    AAMC, with guidance from the IPEC-MedEdPORTAL Advisory Committee, will select up to 15 applicants for resource development awards of $2,000 to accelerate content refinement in preparation for formal submission and peer-review to MedEdPORTAL. Award application deadline is May 25, 5:00 pm ET, with applicants notified of funding decisions by June 18.

    To review the full call for submission proposals and apply online, visit the MedEdPORTAL website.

    CMS Selects First 27 ACOs

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently selected the first 27 accountable care organizations (ACOs) to participate in the Medicare Shared Saving Program (Shared Savings Program). The selected organizations have agreed to be responsible for improving care for nearly 375,000 beneficiaries in 18 states through better coordination among providers. All ACOs that succeed in providing high-quality care—per their performance on 33 quality measures while reducing the costs of care—may share in the savings to Medicare. 

    Two of the ACOs will participate in a version of the program that allows them to earn a higher share of any savings, in return for which they have agreed to be held accountable for a share of any losses if the costs of care for the beneficiaries assigned to them increase.

    Five of the 27 ACOs that are starting this month will participate in the advance payment ACO model established by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to encourage rural and physician-based ACOs to participate in the Shared Savings Program. Under this model, each participating ACO will receive advance payments to help cover the costs of establishing the infrastructure needed to coordinate care for the beneficiaries they serve. 

    CMS currently is reviewing more than 150 applications from ACOs that are seeking to participate in the Shared Savings Program beginning July 1, of which more than 50 are applying for the advance payment ACO model.

    APTA's ACO webpage offers a variety of resources to help members determine if participation in this new model of care is a viable option for them. Resources include videos and podcasts, assessment tools, and links to summaries of ACO regulations. 

    New in the Literature: Preoperative Home-based Physical Therapy (Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Feb 23. [Epub ahead of print])

    Intensive preoperative training at home is feasible for frail older people waiting for total hip arthroplasty (THA) and produces relevant changes in functional health, say authors of an article in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  

    This single-blind pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted in patients' homes and a general hospital in The Netherlands. Participants were 30 frail people aged 65 and older. Intervention was a preoperative, home-based program supervised by an experienced physical therapist to train functional activities and walking capacity. The control group received usual care consisting of 1 session of instructions.

    Feasibility was determined on the basis of adherence to treatment, patient satisfaction, adverse events, walking distance (measured with a pedometer), and intensity of exercise (evaluated with the Borg scale). Preliminary preoperative and postoperative effectiveness was determined by the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), Chair Rise Time, and self-reported measures of functions, activities, and participation.

    Patient satisfaction and adherence to the training were good (median=5 on a 5-point Likert scale) and no serious adverse events occurred. The Borg score during training was 14 (range 13-16). Preoperative clinical relevant differences on the TUG test (2.9s) and significant differences on the 6MWT (41m) were found between groups.

    According to the authors, a larger multicenter randomized controlled trial is in progress to investigate the cost effectiveness of preoperative training.